Keeping tradition alive: The Coppersmith Street

In the many layers of Sarajevo’s history, the one that defines the city the most is probably the Ottoman era, which is perfectly visible in Baščaršija, the heart of Sarajevo.

For the most part, Baščaršija remained the same for centuries, which was crucial to capture that sort of unique spirit of Sarajevo. One of the things you must visit when there is the Coppersmith Street.

Baščaršija translated from Turkish means market, so like most of the European markets at the time, the streets were divided based on the craftsmen that worked there. The Coppersmith Street is the only one that is still in the exact same spot and serving the exact same purpose from five centuries ago.

This guild comprised all of the artisans who produced items made from copper, especially dishes used for food and drink, as well as kalajdžije (tinsmiths), who would cover such items with thin layers of tin, and then decorate them using various techniques, the most common of which was etching.

The authentic look of the street has been retained and the coppersmith craft is still alive. This is a rarity in today’s čaršija, as the street names are all that remain to testify to the artisans who worked on certain streets.

Sarajevo coppersmiths now produce a few dozen copper items for everyday use, like traditional coffee sets and lovely souvenirs that make their way around the world, testifying to the handicraft tradition that has been active here for nearly 500 years.